DAVIDSON – Davidson College has received an $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to expand digital studies throughout its curriculum, particularly in the humanities, from 2014 to 2017.
The initiative follows a year of researching best practices in the use of digital media and technologies for teaching and curricular development.
Davidson’s program stresses collaboration among students, faculty, and library and information technology staff. It also seeks to create lasting connections between Davidson and the region’s research-oriented universities.
“Members of the Davidson College community have been experimenting with technology in the curriculum for a long time,” said Associate Dean for Curriculum Pat Sellers, who helped coordinate the grant proposal. “This grant builds on the preexisting interests of faculty, staff and students, making it easier for them to develop their interests and expertise.”
The grant focuses on new faculty and staff positions; student and staff training; curriculum design; and a “digital collaboratory,” which will fund guest speakers, digital projects and an annual showcase of innovations using technology.
The grant will also spawn “Davidson Domains,” an initiative providing every student a unique domain name that will serve as a foundation for the student’s online presence at Davidson and beyond.
As students progress through the college curriculum, they’ll learn how to add content to the domain, such as samples of internship work or research experience. Ideally, students will be able to keep domains and content after leaving Davidson.
First-year students in 2015-16 will serve as the first full participants.
“Domains will make it easier for Davidson students to show their collegiate achievements to potential employers,” Sellers said.
Davidson College has hired new staff and redefined information technology and library positions to support its digital studies program.
“Other institutions have focused on developing digital tools and databases for professors’ and students’ individual research projects,” Sellers said. “We’ve taken a different approach by trying to spread digital studies as widely through the curriculum as possible.”